Of course we all have different life experiences, and come from varied backgrounds and circumstances but there are certain fears that women frequently face as they run their business. What are they? And how can you conquer these fears so you think and act like a truly fearless leader?
Let’s examine three common fears and how to get past them:
1. Fear of not being viewed as “nice”. Women tend to avoid saying or doing things that could be viewed as aggressive or selfish. So they put their needs and desires in the background, not talking about them or even acknowledging them. Have you ever caught yourself doing this?
The problem is, when you don’t feel heard or recognized, resentment usually follows. Resentment grows quickly, and it doesn’t go unnoticed by those around you. When they feel the tension, but you’re not communicating what the problem is, it causes more tension and everyone just ends up feeling like they’re walking on eggshells around you – definitely not a pleasant, productive work environment.
The best gift you can give people you work with is to be clear with them about your goals and desires. Even if they don't agree with you they know where you stand. Nothing is hidden.
2. Fear of confrontation. This is closely tied in with the fear of being perceived as “not nice”. Women often will try to bury conflicts instead of actively resolving them. Perhaps you’ve done this before. You walk around as if everything is fine, when you are really upset. Maybe someone isn’t fulfilling their job duties, or you have an employee who is ten minutes late every day. It is an issue that needs addressing, but you just can’t bring yourself to do it.
Avoiding conflict can lead to serious problems. Issues can fester, and progress isn’t made. What began as a minor issue or annoyance will grow into a huge problem if it isn’t addressed quickly.
To move forward, you must firmly, but respectfully, confront the issue at hand. Acknowledge that there may be differing opinions, but insist that things get talked out. Keep talking until you reach a resolution. It may be that your difference of opinion is just what the system needs to be more profitable and productive.
3. Fear of failure. The idea of failure gives everyone some level of anxiety. As a woman, you feel failure differently. You fear failure in your business venture, but also worry about failing at your marriage or as a mother. Women place a high value on work-life balance, and a perceived loss of that balance can cause a woman to feel like a failure.
This particular fear can be paralyzing. It can prevent you from taking chances or growing your business. It keeps you from reaching out or taking on more responsibility. It holds you back from growing personally and professionally.
The next time the “what-if’s?” start taking over, take a minute for yourself. Be still, quiet, and let yourself feel the fear and anxiety. Then, once the emotions have settled, move forward and take action. Without risk and investment, there is no return. Without putting in a good deal of time and money, you wouldn’t have your company. Without your hard work at your company, your children would not have the future you want for them. Without putting your heart on the line, you wouldn’t have close relationships with your loved ones. Remind yourself of the good results of your past decisions. Have confidence that you can move forward to experience more positive results.
There are many other challenges that you as a woman business owner face, and other fears as well. If you know you could use someone to hold you accountable and help you push beyond your self-imposed boundaries I would love to work with you. If you live in the Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA area, please contact my office to set up an appointment.